Timber Framing Practicum

Faculty: Makaio Maher, Rick Thomas, Charlie Ryland, Tony VanWinkle

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Learn and practice the art of timber framing! This two week intensive will cover the fundamentals of designing and constructing a post and beam structure using mortise and tenon joinery.

Students in this immersive, hands-on course will join in all aspects of timber frame construction while building a traditional timber frame structure that will be used as an outdoor classroom on campus.

We will begin with introductions both to timber framing as a craft, and to your fellow students who will be working together to cut the class project frame. We will then move into an introduction to design in which students will discuss joinery, timber dimensions and general structural considerations.

The second portion of the class will be centered around hands-on work and demonstrations. The instructors will demonstrate Square Rule layout; how to efficiently use hand saws, chisels, and other tools; how to cut a mortise and a tenon; how to sharpen tools; how to lay out rafters; and more. Students will work from shop drawings to build a mid-sized frame using a combination of traditional and modern techniques for laying out timbers, cutting joinery and raising the structure.

Finally, students will be introduced to the basics of traditional half-dovetail log building techniques including hewing timbers, laying out joinery, and constructing the outdoor classroom.


Register Now for Early Bird Pricing!

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Want some more information before you register?  Let us know!

Level:  Beginner – Intermediate. 

This class is for anyone who is interested in the building craft of timber framing. All students, no matter what skill level they bring to the class, will participate actively in the cutting and erecting of a timber frame project.  In the past our students have included professional builders who want to shift their careers into timber frame building, architects and designers, owner-builders and hobby woodworkers who want to build a modest timber frame structure for themselves, as well as potential timber frame homeowners who want an intimate education in the art of timber framing.

Prerequisites:  There are no formal prerequisites for this class.

Tuition & Fees:  Early Bird Pricing: $2250 / Pricing after July 7th: $2275 covers the cost of the class, most course materials, and daily meals from our top-ranked Sterling Kitchen. Accommodations are not included in course pricing.

Housing Availability & Fees: On-campus housing is available for an additional fee of $60/night with a private bathroom and $50/night with shared bathrooms. Please note that Sterling College offers rustic/vintage/farmhouse style accommodations that are clean and safe but not luxurious.  Availability is limited and room requests are filled on a first-come, first-serve basis. If you prefer to stay off-campus please see our accommodations page for local recommendations.

photo of local timber framer Makaio Maher

Makaio Maher: master builder and owner of Green Timber Works, brings fifteen years of experience to exquisitely craft one of a kind custom homes, and other projects. From restoring and renovating old timber frames, to creating new homes and barns, Green Timber Works will be invested every step of the way in your project from design to finish. We have experience in many facets of construction using locally harvested and milled wood from the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont, including custom cabinetry and built in furniture, pavilions, decks, greenhouses, straw bale construction, renovations, and small scale excavation.



Disclaimer: Course descriptions on this webpage are for informational purposes only. Content may be updated or change as planning evolves.  Sterling College reserves the right to alter the program specifics, including details about course content, instructors, collaborations, field trips and facilities at any time without notice.

Dimensions of Ethnobotany

This course bridges ecology, food systems, cultural studies and humanities, and provides students with an investigation into the diverse relationships between humans and plants. The course will explore how different cultures have classified and understood ecological concepts, the liminal spaces between humans and plants, how social dynamics established landscape practices and cultural identities, and the use of plants in artistic pursuits. The class will explore the theories and methods associated with the academic field of ethnobotany through lectures, field trips and experiential activities. Talks and interviews with local foragers, herbalists, crafters, and restaurant owners will provide students with opportunities to investigate the role of plants in Vermont culture .

Students enrolling in this class will also participate in Forgotten Foods

The Walls Are Meant for Murals (ST)

This class will guide students in the mural creation process from concept to completion in painting groups, teams, or individually. We will briefly introduce the concept of murals in art history and do a short research project to seek inspiration! We will then scout our own spaces for potential murals around campus, and then create design proposals for our murals using input from the community, and get the necessary approval before we start throw paint on the walls. After we gather materials and troubleshoot installation logistics, and we will get painting!

Foundations of Outdoor Education: Leadership & Facilitation

The course will provide a broad introduction to leadership and facilitation skills as they apply within the context of outdoor education, as well as an overview of the history and philosophical/theoretical underpinnings of adventure programming broadly speaking, and challenge-based experiences more specifically. Students will identify and cultivate the skills necessary for working effectively with groups, including assertion and listening skills, group assessment, briefing, facilitation of reflection, tone setting, intervention, working one-on-one, and other leadership and facilitation skills. The vehicle for skill development will be facilitation of high and low challenge course activities for middle and high school age students. Students will also understand how to apply new facilitation and leadership skills in a variety of settings and will gain practice doing so through experiences built into the course as well as through structured reflection. Attention will be given to cultural contexts and applications of challenged-based programming, and to diversity and inclusivity theory and practice in challenge course settings. The course will introduce students to important thinkers and practitioners in the field and will provide exposure to a range of work opportunities in the field of outdoor education. By the end of the course students will be able to identify, use, and safely facilitate the use of a variety of high and low challenge course elements. Students will receive intensive leadership development through feedback and self-evaluation, and will increase their own confidence and competence in confronting physical and interpersonal challenges. Writing competency will be a central focus of this course through use of a portfolio which requires twice-weekly reflective writing to engage students with course materials (course readings, class sessions, and practical leadership experience) as well as two formal written assignments that will utilize a revision process and peer review.

Taking Your Business to the Next Level: Women Food & Beverage Entrepreneurs Share Their Secrets

Friday, January 25, 2019

Entrepreneurs: Allison Hooper, Eleanor Léger, Sas Stewart, & Markey Read, featuring Janice St Onge, Kristine Michelson and Zoe Brickley

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Calling all entrepreneurs!  Join us for a one day seminar hosted by some of Vermont’s most well-poised women in business. The seminar is designed specifically for women who are considering taking the next leap in business development. The day will begin with Allison Hooper founder of Vermont Creamery, Eleanor Léger, co-owner and CEO of Eden Ice Cider and Sas Stewart, Co-founder and President of Stonecutter Spirits coming together to share their stories of blood, sweat, tears and joy. Markey Read from Career Networks will host an all star cast of characters that will also provide workshops covering business development, sales & marketing, finance and raising capital for you to choose from. The day will end in a culminating group discussion followed by a social hour. There will be plenty of time to network, share your personal stories and gain the confidence you need to take your business to the next level. Space is limited to allow for small workshop groups; coffee, snacks and lunch are provided.

Workshops to choose from:

Session 1 (choose one)

    • Toolkit of a Successful Entrepreneur with Sas Stewart
    • Business Economics with Eleanor Léger

Session 2 (choose one)

    • Marketing & Branding with Allison Hooper
    • Raising Capital with Janice St Onge 

Session 3 (choose one)

    • Legal Topics with Kristina Michelson
    • Sales & Distribution with Zoe Brickley from Cellars at Jasper Hill


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Need some more information before you register?  Let us know!

Level: Intermediate

Prerequisites:  There are no formal prerequisites for this class. In order to take full advantage of this course students should have experience operating a small business and be well versed in the basic terminology of small business management.

Tuition & Fees: $130 covers the cost of the class, most course materials, and daily meals from our top-ranked Sterling Kitchen. Accommodations are not included in course pricing. If you would like to apply for financial assistance associated with course cost, please let us know.

Housing Availability & Fees: On-campus housing is not available for this course. For local recommendations please see our accommodations page.

Allison HooperAllison Hooper is a pioneer of artisan cheesemaking, entrepreneur and co-founder of Vermont Creamery, Allison Hooper was named one of the “most innovative women in food and drink” by Food & Wine and Forbes magazines in 2015. For more than 34 years, Allison has been at the helm of the artisan cheese industry, introducing goat cheeses, cultured butter, and crème fraiche to the American palate. In 2012 she and her business partner Bob Reese started Ayers Brook Goat Dairy in Randolph Vermont to supply goats’ milk to the creamery and practice improved genetics, nutrition, and goat husbandry as a resource for aspiring goat farmers. A former president of the American Cheese Society (ACS) and the founding president of the Vermont Cheese Council, Allison has been a voice for U.S. cheesemakers and a mentor to fellow entrepreneurs in the specialty food industry. Vermont Creamery was acquired by Land O’Lakes , a farmer owned Cooperative.  Allison’s family retained ownership of the Ayers Brook Goat Dairy.


Eleanor Leger Bio PicEleanor Léger  After graduating from Wharton, Eleanor began her 25-year career in business consulting. In 2007, after moving with her French-Canadian husband Albert to the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont where she began her transition from full-time consultant to full-time cider maker. In 2012, Eleanor along with her husband Albert and a number of investors purchased a former department store on Main Street in Newport, VT. Tenants leasing space in the building include: the Newport Ciderhouse Bar & Grill, Jocelyn & Cinta’s Bake Shop, Butternut Mountain Maple, Beans by the Border Coffee Shop, and the Tasting Bar for Eden Specialty Ciders, whose cider production facility is also located in the basement. The tenants manage the NEK Tasting Center on a cooperative basis adding to the vibrant foodie scene in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont.

She maintains Cidernomics, a personal blog about her personal findings and reflections of the cider business.


black and white photo of SAsSas Stewart, Co-founder and President of Stonecutter Spirits, an award-winning craft spirits distillery making thoughtful, vibrant aged gin and whiskey in Middlebury, Vermont. Combining a background in fine dining and training in sustainable business development, Sas has chased her love of great food and drink around the world, living and working in Hawaii, New York City, Denmark and Italy before finding her home base and craft spirits community in Vermont. After moving to the Green Mountain State, Sas continued to sink her teeth deeper into the beverage world, consulting on business and brand development with emerging alcohol brands before launching her own company.

Sas’company and projects have been written up in Martha Stewart Living, Food and Wine, Sift, Outside, Edible Green Mountains, Eating Well, Bloomberg, Seven Days and other publications; she most recently launched Highball Social, a Stonecutter Spirits cocktail bar and tasting room in downtown Burlington. Sas holds a B.A. in English and Italian from the University of Michigan, and a M.S. in Sustainable Planning and Development from Pratt Institute.


Markey Read bio picMarkey Read has 25 years of experience in coaching and training groups and individuals in developing and implementing sustainable Leadership Development and Professional Development programs. She develops and delivers workshops & trainings in the area of leadership, team, and professional development for small and large companies; individualized career/employment coaching programs for individuals; Outplacement and Spousal Assistance services throughout New England.

She has developed curriculum and has taught for the New England Culinary Institute Business Management Program, Champlain College, Woodbury College Professional Development Program, Vermont Women’s Business Center, and the Women’s Small Business Program. Markey is a regular presenter at international, national and regional conferences in the area of professional development, marketing for small businesses, and applications of Personality Type (MBTI) theory.


Janice StOnge Bio PicJanice St Onge is currently serves as President of the Flexible Capital Fund, L3C (the “Flex Fund”), a mission based investment fund providing royalty financing to growing companies in Vermont’s food system, forestry and clean energy sectors.  Janice brings a 20+ years of experience in management, technical assistance and financing.   

During her career, Janice served as the Director of the Vermont Business Center (VBC) at the University of Vermont and as the Technology Business Development Director for the Vermont Department of Economic Development. She received the 2001 National Tibbetts Award in recognition for her outreach work with the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program in Vermont.

Janice is a graduate of the University of Utah with a B.A. in Marketing and is an alumni of the Snelling Center for Government’s Vermont Leadership Institute. She serves on the Vermont Small Business Development Center Advisory Board, the Clean Energy Development Fund Board, the Energy Action Network Capital Mobilization Group, Vermont Women’s Investor’s Network, and is a member of Slow Money Vermont’s Organizing Committee. A Stowe, Vermont resident, Janice was co-founder of the Stowe Energy and Climate Action Network.  A former freestyle skiing competitor, Janice was an International Ski Federation (FIS) World Cup / Olympic Freestyle Skiing Judge for 15 years.


Kristina Michelson bio picAttorney Kristina I. Michelsen owns and manages the Law Office of Kristina I. Michelsen, PLLC in Hardwick, Vermont. Her practice areas include real estate, landlord/tenant, land use, employment, small business, and estates.  Kristina works with small businesses in a variety of areas including formation, partner relations, financing, and employee relations. Kristina serves on the Board of Trustees of Heartbeet Lifesharing and has formerly served as a Trustee of the Fairbanks Museum and Planetarium. Kristina was a founder/operator of Claire’s Restaurant in Hardwick, Vermont.


Zoe Brickley Bio Pic Zoe Brickley began exploring the world of cheese while attending culinary school in New York City. From there she took on the role of cave manager and American buyer at Murray’s Cheese after some time spent behind the counter. Currently, Zoe leads sales and marketing efforts for Jasper Hill Farm – a small network of dairies with an affinage facility, all dedicated to preserving the working landscape in northern Vermont through farmstead cheese production. Zoe loves to learn more about cheese through teaching, having presented hundreds of hours of content for many organizations throughout her decade of cheese work. She is member of the Guilde des Fromagers and an American Cheese Society Certified Cheese Professional.

Disclaimer: Course descriptions on this webpage are for informational purposes only. Content may be updated or change as planning evolves.  Sterling College reserves the right to alter the program specifics, including details about course content, instructors, collaborations, field trips and facilities at any time without notice.

Ecology: Concepts and Applications

This course will provide an overview of core ecological concepts and their application in studying the natural world. This course will help students understand the cycles and interconnectedness of living things and their environments, and how to study these systems. Successful completion of this course will also prepare students for further study in the environmental field.

Natural History of California (ST)

California is the most topographically, geographically, ecologically and biologically diverse place in temperate North America. This course is a field-based exploration of the flora and fauna of California and the physical factors such as climate and geologic history that shape the region. Emphasis is placed on the ecological interplay amongst desert, montane forest, alpine, grassland and coastal chaparral vegetation types and the climatic and physiographic factors that determine community distribution. Students build on foundational principles of natural history and ecology through development and practice of observation, identification, and interpretation skills and the keeping of a refined naturalist field journal. Topics include a botanical survey of plant families and representative species, introduction to major groups of animals including insects,herps, mammals and birds, plant and animal adaptations, natural community composition and structure, biogeographic concepts, geologic history, geomorphic processes and related landforms, and California weather and climate. Students gain skills in identification, classification and interpretation of organisms, field journaling, species accounts and systematic species lists, and reading the California landscape. Course format includes lectures, discussions, and a significant field component.

Global Environmental Literature (ST)

Global Environmental Literature is a cross-cultural exploration of fiction that examines the intersections of culture and ecology. Questions we will consider include: What does literature reveal about differing cultural perceptions of the relationship between culture and ecology? How does literature help challenge dominant narratives of the role of humans in relation to other species?

This course counts as one of the required two 400-level seminars. This course counts toward the writing-intensive requirement.

Posthumanism: Exploring the Margin between Human and Non-human

This course challenges participants to consider the relationship between human and non-human worlds as ever more permeable and malleable. Through dialogue and writing, we will investigate a paradigm in which humans are not the center of our experience in this universe. By reading widely in the literature of posthumanities, ecopsychology, ecophenomenology, deep ecology, and art/science, we will explore issues ranging from the permeability of the self to the challenges of binary thinking, to biomimicry and ecological modeling. We will read from a range of texts and look at visual and performative approaches to posthumanities thinking. Assignments will include short responses and complete a final project designed to empower each of us to meaningfully apply the concepts we explore in class.

The Art of Natural Cheesemaking

January 7-11, 2019

Faculty: David Asher

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“The Art of Natural Cheesemaking” offers a detailed, hands-on study of milk and how to safely create value-added, delicious, artisan cheese products in the home kitchen.

From culture propagation to rennet coagulation and on to affinage, this comprehensive and hands on course covers nearly all aspects and styles of farmhouse cheesemaking. Five days of learning allows students to prepare many styles of cheese and observe the stages of their evolution, providing insight into how many cheeses can evolve from the very same milk, with the same culture, and the same rennet. The course will focus on natural methods and a full circle approach to home and micro-scale cheesemaking. Class begins with a session on dairy fermentation, covering kefir, creme fraiche, cultured butter, yogurt, clabber, and quark. Next, we will explore fresh lactic cheeses such as cream cheese, chèvre, and geotrichum-candidum ripened lactic cheeses, including Crottin, Valencay and Saint Marcellin. We’ll deepen our study by looking at rennet cheeses: One morning, we’ll prepare a basic curd that can become many different styles of cheese. By the afternoon, the curd’s acidity will have developed, enabling us to stretch the cheese into mozzarella, burratta, and other pasta filata cheeses. We will then investigate blue cheeses and explore the different rind ecologies, including the white fungus of Camembert and the orange rinds of Limburger. Last, we make an Alpine Cheese and a Cheddar; with their leftover whey we prepare a batch of fresh, warm Ricotta. “The Art of Natural Cheesemaking” offers a well-rounded understanding of the opportunities available to safely and deliciously create value-added dairy products ecologically and without reliance on manufactured cultures.

Level:  Beginner

Prerequisites:  None

Tuition & Fees:  $1250 covers the cost of the class, most course materials, and lunch each day from our top-ranked Sterling Kitchen. Not included are airport transfers or accommodations; please let us know if we can assist you with finding or providing these.

Housing Availability & Fees:  On-campus housing is not available for this course. We recommend the Highland Lodge in Greensboro, VT which offers breakfast and a daily shuttle to and from. For other recommendations please see our accommodations page.

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Want some more information about the class before you register?  Let us know.

David Asher is an organic farmer, farmstead cheese maker, and cheese educator based on the gulf islands of British Columbia, Canada. A guerrilla cheesemaker, David does not make cheese according to standard industrial philosophies—he explores traditionally cultured, non-corporate methods of cheesemaking. David offers cheese outreach to communities near and far with the Black Sheep

School of Cheesemaking. Through workshops in partnership with food-sovereignty-minded organizations, he shares his distinct cheesemaking style. His courses teach a cheesemaking method that is natural, DIY, and well suited to the home kitchen or artisanal production. He is the author of The Art of Natural Cheesemaking (Chelsea Green Publications).

Disclaimer: Course descriptions on this webpage are for informational purposes only. Content may be updated or change as planning evolves.  Sterling College reserves the right to alter the program specifics, including details about course content, instructors, collaborations, field trips and facilities at any time without notice.


The Art & Science of Brewing

Dates TBD

Faculty: Jan Paul & Anders Kissmeyer

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Take your brewing to the next level!  The mix of cold, hard science, brewing artistry, and wild tales from Danish brewmasters Anders Kissmeyer and Jan Paul’s brewing careers are sure to up your brewing game.  This one-week intensive class features fun filled lectures covering raw materials, brewing practices, yeast, aging, packaging, tasting techniques, beer styles, equipment design and more. We also have a number of hands-on activities including basic microscopy that anyone with a microscope can do at home, malting and fermentation.

Although we will not be brewing beer in class, key concepts of all stages of brewing will be covered in detail to help you troubleshoot at home or at the brewery. This course prepares both experienced home-brewers and aspiring beverage entrepreneurs with the skills and inspiration needed to join the craft beer revolution and produce beer that is as artful and sustainable as it is delicious. While your here… visit Vermont’s award winning Hill Farmstead Brewery, Lost Nation Brewing or any of the other more than 50 craft breweries in the state!

Specific topics covered include: malting; brewing; yeast & microorganisms; fermentation & maturation; filtration, pasteurization, carbonization & packaging; barrel aging, bottle conditioning, cold hopping & cask ales; quality management; microscopy & microbiological techniques; hygiene, cleaning & sanitation.

Level:  This class is appropriate for experienced homebrewers as well as those with some work experience related to brewing. It may be too technical for craft beer aficionados and enthusiasts who have no or very limited prior brewing experience. The course provides the theory, knowledge, and skills needed to hone the student’s craft, troubleshoot brews, and take brewing to the next level. You will want to brush up on biology and chemistry basics related to:  carbohydrates, proteins, water, yeasts and enzymes before class begins in order to gain the full value of the class.

Tuition & Fees:  $1250 covers the cost of the class, most course materials, and lunch daily from our top-ranked Sterling Kitchen. Not included are airport transfers or accommodations; please let us know if we can assist you with finding or providing these.  Work at a brewery?  You’re eligible for a 10% discount on this course.

Housing Availability & Fees:  On-campus housing is not available for this course. We recommend the Highland Lodge in Greensboro, VT which offers breakfast and a daily shuttle to and from. For other recommendations please see our accommodations page.

If you have questions about this course, click here.


Faculty Bios:

AndersKissmeyerAnders Kissmeyer has more than 30 years of experience in the brewing business. After a 16- year run in Quality Management and International Brewing at Carlsberg, Anders founded the acclaimed Danish craft brewery, Nørrebro Bryghus, which brought the craft brewing revolution to Denmark and pioneered a range of beers with distinct Nordic accents. Since 2010, Anders has been at the helm of his own brewing, consulting, and communications company, Kissmeyer Beer & Brewing. Kissmeyer expresses an uncompromising brewing philosophy: he creates innovative beers with distinct character that are brewed to an exemplary degree of technical quality.  His beers are inspired by and often brewed in collaboration with his world class brewer friends around the world.  Thanks to the second-to-none network that Anders has built amongst the greatest brewers on the planet, Kissmeyer Beer has been brewed at exceptional breweries in Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Lebanon, Australia, Ontario, Quebec and the United States.  Anders currently teaches at the Scandinavian School of Brewing, judges beer competitions (including the World Beer Cup, GABF, IBA, AIBA, Stockholm Beer & Whisky Festival, IBC Japan and the Mondial de la Biére), and serves as the Technical Editor of the Scandinavian Brewer’s Review.  In the past, he has served on the Council of the European Brewing Convention and Danish Brewer’s Association. Anders was named Best Still-Active Master Brewer in the World (August 2011, peer nomination through the Scandinavian School of Brewing) and Honorary Beer Sommelier(September 2013, the British Beer Academy).

Jan PaulJan Paul is the Brewmaster at Svaneke Bryghus, one of the first micro-breweries in Denmark.  On the remote, ruggedly beautiful island of Bornholm, Jan exclusively produces prize-winning, unfiltered beer under the name of Bornholmer Bryg (Bornholm Brew), using a bottom-fermenting yeast strain that has been going strong since January 2012 and recently reached its 200th generation. In line with traditional practice, Jan brews four seasonal beers each year, capturing the essence of each season. By eschewing the filtering process, Jan creates character beers that maintain all of their flavor and aromatic nuances born from exceptional raw ingredients, pristine water, and the magic of fermentation. Core values of honesty and authenticity, an uncompromising emphasis on quality, and a strong environmental ethic ground Jan’s work.  He brews in a facility that uses some of the most advanced environmentally and energy efficient technologies; his beers are free of additives, stabilizers or any other unnatural products.  At the same time, his irrepressibly creative spirit also inspires him to experiment with unexpected ingredient additions like bladder-wrack and liquorice, and push the boundaries of what is traditionally considered beer. In May 2015, after six months of intensive research and development with a special yeast strain and fermentation process, Jan launched an innovative beverage called Greenlight, Denmark’s first organic and alcohol free beer.  Greenlight provided stiff competition to the “regular” beers at the Copenhagen Beer Festival, where it was considered by many to be the best beer, even without alcohol.  Jan is currently perfecting a beer/cider hybrid with a secondary malolactic fermentation.   Jan is the youngest recipient of the Danish Brewers Association Anniversary Scholarship, which is awarded to recognize and nurture especially innovative and brewing. In addition to being an acclaimed brewer, Jan is also an experienced educator who has taught at the Scandinavian School of Brewing since 2006.  Jan holds a degree in Brewing Engineering at the Technical University of Munich (Weihenstephan).


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Disclaimer: Course descriptions on this webpage are for informational purposes only. Content may be updated or change as planning evolves. Sterling College reserves the right to alter the program specifics, including details about course content, instructors, collaborations, field trips and facilities at any time without notice. Some aspects of course content may be weather-dependent.


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Performance Ecology: Myths, Masks and Movement

This advanced-level interdisciplinary class builds upon foundational theories and practices explored in introductory courses in visual arts, ecology and cultural studies. Students examine the historical and contemporary intersections among art, culture and ecology.  Students engage in process-oriented creativity with nature, working with ecosystem energetics and ecological dynamics to create performance productions. Throughout this course, students explore the ways in which art is used as an agent for landscape and cultural interpretation, and as an avenue to stimulate public discourse. Utilizing emergent- based methods, students engage in interdisciplinary research and explore a diversity of collaborative performance techniques to convey their results.